Mechanical know-how, hand-eye coordination, and the ability to diagnose engine problems are some of the important qualities held by small engine mechanics. These workers inspect, service, and repair motorized power equipment— usually specializing in one type, such as motorcycles, motorboats, or outdoor power equipment. The repairs they work on can range greatly in complexity— from replacing a single part to rebuilding an engine. They work on all types of problems— fuel system, mechanical, and electrical. Small engine mechanics use both computerized and pneumatic equipment, and also a variety of hand tools— which they usually own themselves. Small engine mechanics generally work in well-ventilated but noisy repair shops— from marina docks to the back of a hardware store. When breakdowns happen, they may make onsite repair calls in all kinds of weather. Although most work full time, spring and summer are the busiest work seasons for these mechanics, and many work overtime to keep up with demand. Winter work hours may be shorter. Employers include motorcycle, boat, and other motor vehicle dealers, lawn and garden equipment stores, and household goods repair and maintenance services. Small engine mechanics usually have a high school diploma or certificate and develop their skills through on-the-job training. It takes mechanics anywhere from several months to several years to become fully proficient. Employers increasingly prefer to hire mechanics with technical training.
What they do:
Diagnose, adjust, repair, or overhaul small engines used to power lawn mowers, chain saws, recreational sporting equipment and related equipment.
On the job, you would:
Record repairs made, time spent, and parts used.
Test and inspect engines to determine malfunctions, to locate missing and broken parts, and to verify repairs, using diagnostic instruments.
Dismantle engines, using hand tools, and examine parts for defects.
Engineering and Technology
product and service development
sales and marketing
Arts and Humanities
Education and Training
teaching and course design
thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem
listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions
noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
Hand and Finger Use
put together small parts with your fingers
keep your arm or hand steady
Ideas and Logic
notice when problems happen
order or arrange things
People interested in this work like activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions.
They do well at jobs that need:
Attention to Detail
You might use software like this on the job:
Data base user interface and query software
Ideal Computer Systems Ideal OPE
Analytical or scientific software
Land & Sea DYNO-MAX
VersaDyne small engine test system
high school diploma/GED or some college usually needed
Get started on your career:
New job opportunities are very likely in the future.